Making scrap paper snowmen in Kindergarten

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on December 27, 2010

in Creative Art, snowman, Winter Art

We have been working at being more frugal in our program – this is not an easy task for us – but we are getting the hang of it. I was delighted to go into our Kindergarten classroom and see that the teacher had set out her basket of scrap construction paper for this project…

The teacher invited the children to make snowmen. They started by brainstorming how many circles might be included in a snowman and then the teacher instructed the children to use construction paper to design their snowman…

Most of the children were able to cut out their circles for the snowman body without any tracing or drawing first…

But one little girl was struggling with this and so I suggested she draw her circles first then cut on her lines. This she could do without a problem…

Once the children made their circles, they glued them on then went back over to the scrap box to choose other colors of paper to adorn their snowmen…

They sorted and cut and measured their lengths of paper – it was interesting to observe each child at work. The children seemed to already know exactly what they wanted to do but I sometimes questioned their choices (in my head) as they went along but learned that they were extremely competent in this task – I just needed to wait and let them work (and keep my opinions on things like how fat or skinny an arm should be or how tall or short a hat should be to myself)

Some of the children were extremely detailed in their work. I loved the little bow on this little girl’s snowman – excuse me – snow girl…

Other children preferred to draw some of the more finer details with crayons…

This was not a quiet activity – there was constant action. Children talking, laughing, walking back and forth to the scrap box, dropping crayons on the floor, cutting, measuring, and more talking…

What fascinated me is how no two snowmen were the same. The children did not worry about their neighbor’s snowman or try to copy it. I was actually surprised at how they all stayed to their own plan and design…

The children were also very encouraging to each other. This is a reflection of the teacher always telling the children how much she loves their ideas and now the children are very good about complimenting one another…

Observing children at play and work is such an important part of the teaching experience. I learn more about their skills and abilities and I also discover how much I sometimes underestimate their potential to complete a task without my constant urge to make suggestions…

Yep, and we did end up with one armed snowman! “His gun blows out fire” so all the other snowmen better watch out or they “might get melted!”

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1 Little Wonders' Days December 27, 2010 at 7:46 am

Cute pictures and I love that some of them have a story (one armed snow shooter). It’s amazing what kids can do with what we see as scraps. Little J has an inventor’s box(recycled odds and ends and scraps) and is constantly digging through it to do something.
One other thing, the encouraging and complimenting… it’s so nice that you and other teachers model this. My Sassyfras started saying, “You did it mommy” or “Great job” when she started preschool! As a parent is appreciated, just so you know.

2 Deborah J. Stewart December 27, 2010 at 8:37 am

I love the complimenting too – it is wonderful to see the children being so kind and respectful of each other. As a parent and a teacher – I really appreciate this too!

3 Tami December 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I love how you just let them dig in and do it all themselves.

4 Sherry and Donna December 27, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I love that each one is so unique Deborah. I mean come on … There’s nothing quite like a gun wielding snowman is there?!
Donna :) :)

5 Deborah J. Stewart December 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Haha! Absolutely!

6 Pam December 27, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I just noticed that the “armed” snowman seems to be winking at us ;) …or is he trying to aim more accurately…yikes!

I also love how the children compliment and encourage each other- the children in my classroom have very little language/communication at this point, but can often be found patting a friend’s back, giving hugs or smiles as encouragement- it’s such a basic way of acknowledging each other and the effort that their friend’s have put in to their work/activity. (hugs work just as well as words in my classroom…perhaps better :) …who couldn’t use at least 50 hugs a day (keep in mind, I only have 4 children in my classroom right now)!

7 Deborah J. Stewart December 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Hugs, pats on the back, complimentary words are all wonderful ways to express kindness and I love it all in preschool!! I am not sure if that snowman is winking or aiming:) LOL!

8 bluedreamer December 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

wow kids are very creative

9 Deborah J. Stewart December 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I agree – they have lots of practice:)

10 Jackie December 27, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Not only frugal but also environmentally friendly!!

11 Deborah J. Stewart December 27, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Yes it is:)

12 Scott December 28, 2010 at 9:44 am

I love reusing the scraps.

(And the unique snowmen seem to reflect the different personalities of the kids. I love that, too!)

13 Deborah J. Stewart December 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

I hadn’t seen much of reusing scraps so I enjoyed seeing them give it a try. We do have some personality in this group:)

14 Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids December 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

We like to make scrap snow people too! I like to use the book Snowballs by Louis Ehlert with the activity.
http://www.amazon.com/Snowballs-Lois-Ehlert/dp/0152020950

Very interesting to see how your students feel free to extend their snowman off of the paper and don’t keep it in the ‘paper box’! : D

15 Deborah J. Stewart December 28, 2010 at 10:53 am

We will have to give that a try – I will suggest it to the teacher:) I LOVE that book by Lois Ehlert!

16 Katherine December 28, 2010 at 11:24 am

I love this – we have a bunch of scraps in our mini art studio, but they are usually just left in the basket – we will have to try this when we get back to school!

17 JDaniel4's Mom December 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Drawing the circles first was a great idea. The snowman look wonderful. This looks like it was a lot of fun.

18 Sandy Naidu December 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Looks like a fun activity (hidden with lots of learning). Am going to get my kids to do this this holidays…

19 Veronica January 1, 2011 at 11:58 am

I love this activity! I was browsing and looking for a blog of teachers that I could mingle with as I am moving from Texas to New York or Connecticut in June and have questions about teaching up there, and I found this. My current district has compressed teaching to the point that our own creativity has been squashed. They are so driven by data and assesments, they have left out the fundamental necessity to learn by exploration and creativity. I love teaching, but if it is like this is NY and CT, I’d rather not. Any tips? Glad to see what you’ve exposed your children to, it made my heart smile!

20 Deborah J. Stewart January 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I hope you are able to find a district where your gifts and talents are nurtured and allowed to soar! Be sure to let me know how things go after the move and we will take it from there!

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